Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Atlanta has a Wine School? | March 15, 2011

I know it seems odd for me to write an Atlanta-centric post. I recently discovered that I have more readers in California than I do in Georgia. But that’s okay. Because I know that those 3 California readers might have to connect in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson someday, and- with layovers- they may be searching for some quick wine education.
As for you other 2 Georgia readers, maybe this will be news to you as well: Atlanta, the home of the Budweiser plant in Cartersville and No Alcohol Sales on Sunday, has a wine school. Yes, a mecca of booze-centric education, right slap-dab in the heart of the Bible belt.
But why? Aren’t we happy with our Coors Light “Big 18” packs, slugged down after cutting the grass (or during, in the case of you lucky SOBs with those riding jobs)? Who needs to know about wine? I drink the red jug with my hot dogs and the white jug with my fish sticks. I got it figured out. What more is there to know?
The fact is: in a city of over five million people, there are significant pockets who aren’t satisfied with the Bud and the Coors Light tall boys and the jug wine and the hot dogs and the fish sticks. They thirst for knowledge; clamoring to understand a restaurant wine list; pining to discover that there’s more to pairing than “white with chicken, red with beef”; dying to learn what Gutsabfüllung means.
These inquisitive souls are desperately seeking a good dose of “wine evangelism”. And this man is their John the Baptist:
Michael Bryan is a smart dude. He started Atlanta Wine School out of exasperation with the rat race, aka “business-as-usual”, aka “the bane of my existence”, wanting to create a structured forum for folks to learn and grow with the beverage that seems to bring everyone together, from Skid Row winos to the sophisticated denizens of Cherokee County, GA (the non-meth dealers, that is). Bryan spent seven years learning and perfecting French. I’m speculating that he did it primarily to not sound like a dunce pronouncing all those wine labels. He’s been all over the globe, touring and investigating it’s greatest wine regions, like Paris Hilton with a purpose. The guy knows his wine, and he loves sharing that knowledge with his audience.
I hadn’t been to the Atlanta Wine School in quite a while. I have a demanding day job. There’s a little tike at home that needs my love, attention, and expertise in fart noises. I also have a wife who can’t cook, so that 7 PM spread of hot dogs and fish sticks ain’t cookin’ itself.
But when I did finally make it back last Wednesday- a rare appearance since my regular visits during CSW training- I was reminded why I enjoyed it so much. The reason: Michael Bryan. Yeah, he uses haughtier language than I. And his pronunciations of foreign wines are more polished (perhaps that’s why I stick to print). We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, and he’d possibly have a coronary in the presence of some of my wine-related shenanigans (like dumping hot sauce into a fine German Riesling). That being said, the guy has an unequivocal passion for the fermented grape. And it’s infectious. He leads the class with such comfort and warmth, you feel like he’s an old buddy. Bryan handles the powder-keg topic of wine in such a way that comes off as polished but not pretentious. He answers questions in a manner that is not condescending to the audience- a talent devoid in more than a few wine professionals.
I’m not writing this because I got paid to do so. I’m not chirping because I got a few free sips of wine (which were moot on account of a nasty stuffed nose. Damn you, Airtran). I’m giving this unsolicited endorsement to Atlanta Wine School because 1) I’m from Atlanta and I love Atlanta; 2) I dig wine, and I want folks to dig it as much as me; and 3) I think there are plenty of folks in this city who want to know more, and they don’t know where to turn. The deranged, obnoxious, and slightly-off will always have a home here at Suburban Wino. But if the voice of this blog doesn’t scratch you where you itch, Michael Bryan and the crew are eager to preach the Good News of Booze in a comfortable, educational, and entertaining setting:
Atlanta Wine School
1570 Holcomb Bridge Rd. #705
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 668-0435
www.atlantawineschool.com
Oh, and Gutsabfüllung means “estate bottled”. Yeah, I’ve got some chops too, kids.
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